And again we have a highly acclaimed series (8.6 on IMDb) of which the first season did not convince me enough to want to watch the second, but people keep saying it gets better. Why would the creator of a series make an unconvincing first season only to improve afterwards? Just as with “Breaking Bad“, “Vikings“, “Dexter” or “Lost” the first season of “Hannibal” may not be bad or boring, but not interesting enough to interest me to continue with season two. Of the earlier mentioned series I sometimes did watch another season later on, but still did not like the series. The only exception to the ‘rule’ is “American Horror Story“. The first season was only so-so, but the second and third are great. The next series to watch will be season four.
Back to “Hannibal”. It goes without saying that the story here is about Hannibal Lector whom we know from the films “Manhunter” (1986), later reworked into “Red Dragon” (2002), “The Silence Of The Lambs” (1991) and “Hannibal” (2001, I have not seen this one). Lector is the serial killer psychologist who in all films has already been incarcerated. The series tell the story of before that time. What I like about the series, are the references to the films. One of the main characters in the series is Wil Graham. In “Manhunter” we meet Graham as the investigator who caught Hannibal Lector but who also had to lay down his job for having looked into the heads of the killers he tried to catch too much. In the series we see how that ‘worked’.
The shabby male journalist Freddie Lounds (burned by the killer in “Manhunter” became a woman in the series, but more interesting is Jack Crawford, a character in every Hannibal production, in the series played by Laurence Fishburne. In “Manhunter” he is Wil Grahams boss, but even in “The Silence Of The Lambs” Crawford is a character while Graham no longer is. In the series he is the FBI agent that hires the criminology teacher Graham because he is able to ‘go into’ the killers head.
Besides characters there are also other references such as phrases.
That said, in the series Graham looks as some kind of like psychic who (in his visions) replaces the killer and thus reconstructs the events. In every episode, there is some extremely unlikely murder, every time more repulsive what seems to be a mandatory element of the thriller genre nowadays. Ah, a body stuck upon stag-antlers and displayed, yawn. Oh boy, a totem pole of bodies, a good moment to get a drink. These supposedly shocking elements are downright boring and annoying and there are way too many of them.
Then we have Lector. He is a psychologist who somehow works in the same circles as Crawford and Graham. The latter develops a friendly relation with Lector which starts to become more of a doctor/patient relationship. Crawford and Lector also visit each other. There is one of the strengths of the series, because we all know what Lector will later be convicted for.
The series also has interesting elements. The situation described above, but there also some darker scenes (word has that in the next seasons the series become more vague and dark). The red thread is interesting, but it is too bad that the ‘filler up’ stories are so boring. So boring even that (once again) I am not sure if I am interested to watch the second season. Perhaps in a couple of years…